There was an unusual pairing for a Christ Church Cathedral Coffee Concert of Lynn Saoirse on Irish Harp and vocalist Harry Bent. This harp is tricky to tune and the pitch is difficult for a low soft voice like Bent’s, better suited to a more intimate setting. There was no printed programme but colouring pages were available and the intros were sometimes inaudible.
Lynn Saoirse makes wonderful music and the harp sounds beautiful in the echoing Cathedral. Bent began apologetically about Fishermen’s Friends and his light voice suited Lord Franklin and Oileán Cill Dara but the harp’s pitch drowned out key words. He introduced a Canadian folksong by the unfortunate title of Roger the Miller rather than The Old Grey Mare.
I loved the harp intro for the curious choice of Hank Williams Cold Cold Heart but a version of Con Te Partiro tested my acceptance and tolerance. It might have been time to say goodbye and Bent told the audience – thank you very much for your kindness. He then introduced his mother in the audience and told us that Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah was often destroyed by others and as he sang I loved the harp so much.
Lynn Saoirse shone with Carolan’s Mrs.McDermott or The Princess Royal Reel and Harry bent gave us a beautiful shut-eyed Caledonia by Robbie Burns – If I Should Become A Stranger It Would Make Me More Than Sad.
They should have finished there but they didn’t and Bent tried to get the audience to sing along to a difficult verse.